Richard Perry University Professor
Adrian Raine continually overturns assumptions about causes and cures for violent criminal behavior. His globe-spanning research has revealed previously unrecognized risk factors in violent offenders’ brains, genes, physiology, and pre-natal and early life nutritional status. Within that data, Raine sees not biological determinism but grounds for hope in taking a public health approach to the global problem of criminal violence.
President of the Academy of Experimental Criminology and one of the founders of the new field of neurocriminology, Raine believes that countless lives and dollars lost to criminal violence could be saved by emphasizing prevention over punishment and rehabilitation over retribution. His 2013 book, The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime, offers a vivid tour of research on the biological origins of violent criminal behavior and shares evidence-based prevention approaches. Translated into six languages soon after publication, his book explores ethically and legally challenging considerations for screening, prevention, rehabilitation, and criminal justice if violent crime is considered a treatable clinical disorder.
Raine’s paradigm-shifting discoveries include the first brain imaging study of murderers and the earliest documentation of a structural brain abnormality in criminal offenders. His early research challenged criminologists to look beyond social and environmental factors to assess biological influences on violent behavior, as well. Raine’s early focus on the nature side of the nature-nurture equation, once vilified, is now supported by hundreds of studies on its equivalent impact. A fellow of the American Psychological Society, Raine publishes in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, JAMA Psychiatry, Criminology, International Journal of Epidemiology, and Human Brain Mapping.
An award-winning teacher and dynamic mentor, Raine engages many undergraduates in his research in the city of Philadelphia on the benefits of enhanced early childhood nutrition, exercise, and cognitive stimulation. Together, they have amassed compelling evidence that the most effective, affordable way to reduce future crime is to invest in the early years of life, when a child’s brain is growing and developing.
About the Donor
Richard Perry, W'77, gave the inaugural gift in support of the Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) initiative, a cornerstone of President Amy Gutmann’s vision for propelling Penn from excellence to eminence.